Small itchy blisters on fingers
by madaz, Oct 15, 2010
Hi everyone. Here is my problem, it's quite lengthy so please bare with me.

I'm now 34, but when I turned 19 I became a vegetarian, and during that time I developed small itchy blisters between the fingers on my right hand. The blisters would eventually pop and there was a clear, sticky fluid that came out. Prior to going vegetarian I had no skin problems at all. When I turned vegetarian - aside from cutting out meat - I made a number of changes to my diet. For instance, I began using a lot of chilli peppers, garlic and Indian spices, prior to going vegetarian I never ate chilli peppers or garlic, I did however eat 'curry', but the curry I ate was made using ready made curry powders or a ready made curry sauce from a jar, and not made using individual spices.

I visited my doctor on a number of occasions but all I was given was steroid creams, which did work in the short term, but it never addressed the real cause. Fast forward five years and I decided to start eating meat and fish again (as advised by my doctor) because my health had declined somewhat. I now eat all meats except lamb.

Today my diet still consists of spicy food and I still suffer with the blisters/dermatitis, but now it's only on the underside of my ring finger and between my ring finger and little finger on my right hand. I rarely get the blisters on my left hand, which led me to believe that this may be something I am touching because I am right handed. I started using plastic gloves to chop onion, garlic and chillies, and I wear gloves whilst cooking and washing dishes, but the blisters haven't gone away. The odd thing is that my fingernail (ring finger) has become distorted (much like the rest of my finger) and there are blisters under the finger nail that can be clearly seen. I also get the same blisters on my right foot (which I have now as it happens).

In the past I have - for one reason or another - stopped eating spicy foods for a week or two and the blisters seem to clear up slightly, but I can still get a slight flare up from soaps et cetera. Then I will eat an Indian meal one night and I find myself getting addicted to spicey food and I will eat more and more of it and within a week the blisters are back again. I know the above paragraph probably sounds stupid because I have figured it out that there is something in Indian cuisine that seems to be causing my condition, the only trouble is, what?

Could it be narrowed down to an individual spice or ingredient, and if so what would you suspect it is?

Thanks in advance.
Related Discussions
Member Comments (4)
by Bhupinder Kaur, MDBlank, Oct 22, 2010
From the symptoms, it looks like pompholyx to me. The exact cause is not known and excessive sweating can be one of the reasons. But some triggers like allergic reaction to soaps, detergents, foods, latex, nickel etc may trigger the symptoms. Apply some calamine lotion on the affected area and keep the area well moisturized. Use only thin applications of moisturizer ointments as excessive amounts of ointment may restrict breathing of the skin and aggravate the condition.

Topical steroids can be applied but they are available under prescription. Moreover to prevent infection, topical antibiotics may be needed. I suggest you to consult a dermatologist and get it evaluated.

I hope it helps. Take care and regards.

by madaz, Oct 23, 2010
Thanks for the reply. Since posting that message I have cut all nightshade foods from my diet (tomatoes, peppers, chillies, tomatillos, potatoes etc) but I am still using all the spices I used before and I have noticed that the blisters are going away and the skin is slowly starting to heal. I cooked something a few nights ago and I used a tin of tomatoes and the following morning there was a few itchy blisters on my fingers - so i decided to eliminate all the nightshade foods for the time being to see if that helps.

Kind regards.
by batfly, Apr 06, 2011
You may have Dyshidrosis...

Dyshidrosis (also known as Acute vesiculobullous hand eczema, Cheiropompholyx, Dyshidrotic eczema, Pompholyx, Podopompholyx) is a skin condition that is characterized by small blisters on the hands or feet. It is an acute, chronic, or recurrent dermatosis of the fingers, palms, and soles, characterized by a sudden onset of many deep-seated pruritic, clear vesicles; later, scaling, fissures and lichenification occur. Recurrence is common and for many can be chronic. Incidence/prevalence is said to be 1/5,000 in the United States. However, many cases of eczema are diagnosed as garden-variety atopic eczema without further investigation, so it is possible that this figure is misleading.
This condition is not contagious to others, but due to its unsightly nature can cause significant distress in regard to social interactions with others.
The name comes from the word "dyshidrotic," meaning "bad sweating," which was once believed to be the cause, but this association is unproven; there are many cases present that have no history of excessive sweating. There are many different factors that may trigger the outbreak of dyshidrosis such as allergens, stress, or seasonal changes. Emotional stress may also further aggravate the condition.

The principal causes of dyshidrosis is an allergic reaction to the colonization of any part of the body by a yeast, mold or fungus.

TREATMENT: use an antifungal cream such as Clotrimazole.

For more information See:
by batfly, Apr 23, 2011
As a follow up...

If you do not see results from Clotrimazole...

Try Undecylenic acid...
Undecylenic acid is an organic unsaturated fatty acid derived from castor oil. It is the common name of the 10-undecenoic acid, (CH2CH(CH2)8COOH). It is used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and perfumery, including antidandruff shampoos, antimicrobial powders and as a musk in perfumes and aromas.[1] Undecylenic acid is produced by cracking of castor oil under pressure.[2]

Medicinal uses:

Undecylenic acid is a natural fungicide and is FDA approved in over-the-counter medications for skin disorders. It is the active ingredient in medications for skin infections, and relieves itching, burning, and irritation. For example, it is used against fungal skin infections, such as athlete's foot, ringworm, jock itch or Candida albicans.[3] When used for jock itch, it can result in extreme burning, as the skin is rather sensitive. It is also used in the treatment of psoriasis.[4] Undecylenic acid has antiviral properties that are effective on skin infections such as herpes simplex.[5]
The mechanism of action is unknown.[6